Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Avoiding Misplaced modifiers and two - way modifiers

Misplaced Modifiers:

A modifying phrase or clause that sounds awkward because it modifies the wrong word or group of words is called a misplaced modifier.

Avoid using a misplaced modifier:

To correct a misplaced modifier, place the phrase or clause as close as possible to the word or words you intend it to modify.

Misplaced : Uncle Bill saw a dog gnawing a bone on his way to work. (Was the dog on his way to work?)
Clear : On his way to work, Uncle Bill saw a dog gnawing a bone.
Misplaced : They were delighted to see a field of daffodils climbing up the hill.
Clear : Climbing up the hill, they were delighted to see a field of daffodils.
Misplaced : The anxious hunter watched the raging lion come charging at him while readying a bow and arrow.
Clear : While readying a bow and arrow, the anxious hunter watched the raging lion come charging at him


Two-Way Modifiers:

Avoid placing a phrase or clause so that it seems to modify either of two words. Such a misplaced modifier is often called a twoway, or squinting modifier.

Misplaced The prime minister said in the press interview her opponent spoke honestly. (Did the prime minister speak in the press interview, or did her opponent?)
Clear In the press interview, the Prime Minister said her opponent spoke honestly.
Clear The Prime minister said her opponent spoke honestly in the press interview.
Misplaced The Mayor said when the city council met he would discuss the proposed budget.
Clear When the city council met, the Mayor said he would discuss the proposed budget.
Clear The Mayor said he would discuss the proposed budget when the city council met.
Misplaced The manager told the two rookies after the game to report to the dugout.
Clear After the game, the manager told the two rookies to report to the dugout.
Clear The manager told the two rookies to report to the dugout after the game.

Task: Revising sentences by correcting misplaced modifiers - The following sentences contain misplaced modifiers. Revise each sentence so that its meaning is clear and correct.

Example:

We listened eagerly to the stories told by Scheherazade in
The Arabian Nights, munching peanuts and crackers.
Munching peanuts and crackers, we listened eagerly to
the stories told by Scheherazade in The Arabian Nights.

1. Louise projected the photographs on a large screen that she had taken at the zoo.
2. Mr. Martinez promised in the morning he would tell a NativeAmerican trickster tale.
3. I pointed to the fish tank and showed my friends my new puffer, swelling with pride.
4. Roshan said during an interview Richard gave him inspiration to become a writer.
5. I talked about the problem I had in writing my first draft withMohan, and he said he had the same problem.
6. My aunt had finally mastered the art of making stuffed cabbage, filled with a sense of accomplishment.

Dangling Modifiers:

A modifying phrase or clause that does not sensibly modify a word or words in a sentence is called a dangling modifier.

Avoid using a dangling modifier

You may correct a dangling modifier by adding a word or words that the phrase or clause can sensibly refer to or by adding a word or words to the phrase or clause.
Dangling Having selected a college, a trip to the campus was planned. (Who selected a college?)
Clear Having selected a college, my friend and I planned a trip to the campus.
Clear After we selected a college, my friend and I planned a trip to the campus.
Dangling After winning the Pulitzer prize for poetry, the novelMaud Martha was written.
Clear After winning the Pulitzer prize for poetry, GwendolynBrooks wrote the novel Maud Martha.
Clear After Gwendolyn Brooks won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, she wrote the novel Maud Martha.
Dangling While correcting papers, the message came from the principal.
Clear While correcting papers, the teacher received the message from the principal.
Clear While the teacher was correcting papers, the message came from the principal.

Note:A few dangling modifiers have become standard in idiomatic expressions.

Examples:
Generally speaking, Americans now have a longer life
expectancy than ever before.
To be honest, the party was rather boring

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